Agencies work closely to manage hazardous chemicals

We take the regulation and management of hazardous chemicals seriously ("Lessons from the Tianjin blasts" by Ms Lim Lih Mei; Thursday).

Agencies such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Singapore Police Force, National Environment Agency, Ministry of Manpower and Urban Redevelopment Authority work closely together to ensure a comprehensive approach in managing hazardous chemicals.

Industries that store, handle and use large quantities of hazardous chemicals are required to conduct risk assessment studies, and are sited away from residential estates for public health and safety.

There are also tight licensing controls, record-keeping requirements, an inspection and enforcement regime, stringent regulations on the transportation and storage of such chemicals, as well as safety requirements for workers in the industry.

The SCDF is trained and equipped to mitigate various types of fire incidents, including chemical fires and the release of hazardous vapour associated with such incidents.

Together, these agencies maintain a high level of vigilance over the import, conveyance, storage, handling and use of hazardous chemicals in Singapore.

Companies dealing in hazardous chemicals also play a critical role. They would need to continue to inculcate a strong workplace safety culture and ensure strict compliance with our industrial, chemical and fire safety regulations.

We are following closely the investigation findings from the Tianjin explosion, and will take on board any relevant learning points to further enhance our safe management of hazardous chemicals.

Abdul Razak Raheem (Colonel)

Director, Public Affairs Department

Singapore Civil Defence Force

Fong Peng Keong

Director, Pollution Control Department

National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Agencies work closely to manage hazardous chemicals'. Print Edition | Subscribe